Chapter 1: Allow Me To Introduce Myself
A man in a gray blazer stood in front of the small group of men who were seated in chairs that were arranged in a semi-circle. The group looked up at the man, all the while, shifting their eyes to the door. Save for one person who seemed to have his face stuck in a perpetual scowl. They didn’t seem to be scared, however. Maybe they were just anxious to leave. It was common for things like this. The man in the blazer decided that he’d wait for the gentlemen to calm down a bit. The anxiety and defensiveness wouldn’t completely dissipate, but he hoped that they could, at least, relax into their own personalities. While he waited, he gave the group a once over.
There was a gentleman with an odd shaped head. Like an egg, or maybe a football. He seemed to be in his early twenties; no older than 23. He was wearing a blue hat and had wild blonde hair. The man in the blazer noted that it seemed as if the man was wearing a skirt as well. He decided that he wouldn’t press the issue. It wasn’t really a hindrance to the session and he was sure he’d find out all the mysteries about the ‘maybe’ skirt.
Sitting next to him, was a heavy set fellow. He wore cargo shorts and an open baseball jersey with a white t-shirt underneath. The man’s head was also an odd shape. Although, while the previous man had an oblong head, this one just seemed to have a lot more chin than seemed humanly possible… or necessary. He looked to be a bit older but looks could be deceiving.
He continued to survey the room. He came to the man with the scowl. He seemed to be a bit long and lanky. He had no distinguishing visual characteristics except for his scowl and his very bright strawberry blonde hair.
Next to him was a man wearing a garish, orange track suit. He seemed to have the same style of spiky hair, albeit a lot less messy, as the man with the scowl. Another difference is that this man’s hair was a bright, boisterous, blonde; almost yellow. The guy sat back with a bored look on his face. The man in the blazer observed that the man also had three lines on both cheeks. They reminded him of whiskers. Once again he decided not to dwell on it.
Working his way to the next person, his eyes fell upon a gentleman who seemed to be very much relaxed. He was slouched in his seat and had his arm draped over the back of the chair. He seemed to be a very handsome man. One who could have his ‘pick of the litter’ so to speak. The man wondered why this handsome person would be here in the first place. He may be one of the interesting ones. His style did seem to be a bit retro though. Ripped Jeans, Jean Jacket, those weight lifting gloves with the fingers cut off. It was all very much late 80s possibly early 90s; but at that point you’re just splitting hairs.
The last person in the group seemed the most plain. Brown hair, spiked in the front, straight cut jeans, blue button down with the sleeves rolled up. He sat slouched over with his arms on his elbows, staring at the ground, tapping his left foot.
He looked at them once again and decided that it was time to get started.
“Hello, gentleman,” The man in the blazer addressed the group, “My name is Dr. Kratz.” The group muttered their various greetings. Dr. Kratz continued, “Welcome to the Boyfriends Anonymous support group-,“ a hand went up, “Yes Mr.?” He asked as he pointed to the overtly handsome gentleman.
“Oliver. But you can call me Beck.” The man nodded in acknowledgement, “Boyfriends Anonymous sounds very much like Alcoholics Anonymous.”
Dr. Kratz nodded, “Go on.”
“Well isn’t that a group aimed towards getting people to quit alcohol?”
“That’s the ultimate goal, yes.”
“Well, I can’t really speak for anyone else here but I’m not trying to ‘quit’ my girlfriend.” The others in the room voiced their agreement.
“Well then what do you gentlemen think we should be called?” Another hand shot up, “Yes Mr.?”
“You can call me Arnold.” Said the man with the odd shaped head, “Maybe we could call ourselves Boyfriends Against Abusive Girlfriends.”
“But we aren’t really against our girlfriends, though.” Said the plain looking kid.
“If you ask me this whole thing is stupid.” Said the scowling gentleman.
“Well nobody asked you,” commented the portly gentlemen, “This is a real problem for some of us. So if you don’t like it why don’t ya scram?”
“Trust me, guy. Nothin’ would make me happier than to get outta here. But if Ru-“ The scowling gentlemen caught himself before revealing his girlfriend’s name. “If my girlfriend finds out I ditched this meeting, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“I see where he’s comin’ from,” remarked the boy with the whiskers.
“Oh, yeah? Well how about I pound the both of ya and see how well you can see each other with your eyes swollen shut?”
The Portly man stood up from his chair, knocking it over onto its back, while clinching his fists and glaring at the two blonde gentlemen. The man with the scowl stood up to meet the man in the center of the semi-circle. The man with the whiskers immediately rose up to get in between the two. Arnold just sighed and leaned his leaned his head over the back of his seat, looking up at the ceiling. Beck looked on, slightly amused at the spectacle that was playing out before him as the tall, scowling man used his length to reach around the guy in the orange jumpsuit to put the portly gentleman in a headlock. The headlock ended up squishing the orange jumpsuit in between the two and he was now flailing in a desperate attempt to free himself. The plain gentleman just looked on with an anxious look on his face. It was obvious that he wanted to stop the impending fight; however, it was also apparent that there was something keeping him bolted to his seat.
Dr. Kratz, satisfied that the group had settled into their actual personalities, thus, allowing him to make some real progress, knew exactly how to stop the fight from breaking out. He cleared his throat, “I should let you gentlemen know that if there is any conduct that I deem inappropriate I will increase your co-payment.”
All noise and movement in the room ceased, almost immediately. Dr. Kratz found himself faced with six sets of eyes; from Brown to green. After a minute, Kratz raised his eyebrows. This seemed to set the wheels in motion as the three in the middle of the semi-circle disengaged themselves, straightened up their clothes, and returned to their seats.
“Very good. Now,” Dr. Kratz walked to the middle of the semi-circle, “How about we start with introductions. Just your name and a little about yourself. Who would like to go first?”
The portly gentleman stood to his feet. “I’ll go first. My name is Harold Berman, and I have a problem.”
Dr. Kratz raised his eyebrows, mildly surprised, “No, Harold, you don’t have to-“
Before he could finish, the group responded, “Hi Harold.”
“It’s not that type of meeting.”Dr Kratz said, interrupting the group, “We’re a support group, yes, but we’re not here to call your girlfriends ‘problems’ to get rid of.”
“Oh, yeah, right. Well anyway, uhmm…” Harold trailed off, not really knowing what else to say.
“A little about yourself.” Said Dr Kratz.
“Anything. Likes. Dislikes. How you met your girlfriend.”
“Well, Uhh… I work in construction… uhhh… Arnold, here has been my friend since the fourth grade… and uhhh… I met my girlfriend in the fourth grade also, but we didn’t start dating until high school.”
“Very good, Let’s go on and continue down the line.”
The lanky man with the scowl stood up, “My name is Ichigo Kurosaki. I’m originally from Osaka, Japan. Before any of you morons ask me; yes I do have my citizenship. I met my girlfriend back in Japan. We were both in the police academy at the time.”
The orange jumpsuit stood to his feet, “My name is Naruto Uzumaki. It took me forever to get used to saying my name the way you guys say it over here. I’m also from Japan, but I was born in Kyoto. I met my girlfriend when I was at school… but… she didn’t like me much then.”
Dr. Kratz looked on as the dejected man sat down and the Kurosaki kid patted him on the back. Once the scene was over he urged them to proceed with the introductions, “Mr. Oliver, would you tell us a bit about yourself?”
“Sure.” Beck rose to his feet, “As I said before, I’m Beck Oliver. I’m an Indie filmmaker, thinking about trying to get into some mainstream stuff. I went to a performing arts high school. That’s where I met my girlfriend. We’ve had an on and off relationship but… I’m proud to say that we’ve been ‘on’ for about a year now.”
This news was met with a round of golf claps.
The plain clothed gentleman on the end stood up as Beck returned to his own seat, “Hi. My name is Freddie Benson. I freelance my services as a video and film editor. Also, I just got a job as a camera man so that’s a bit of a steady pay check while I get my feet wet in the editing field. I met my girlfriend while doing a web show with my friends. Well, I guess it’s more accurate to say that I fell in love with her during the show, or maybe it was when we kissed the first time, maybe it was when we kissed the second time… Maybe it was after the first time we broke up. I don’t know. I may not know exactly when I fell in love with her, but I do know that I’ve been in love ever since.”
“Good, good, and Arnold how about you finish off our intros?”
The man with the odd shaped head stood up. “My name is Arnold-” as he said his last name, a car alarm started blaring; drawing everyone’s attention to the window. As everyone turned back around to look at Arnold he just continued without reiterating his last name, “I work for a non-profit organization that raises money for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s. We also raise money for Alzheimer’s research and we recently became able to start a scholarship for med school and pre med students. I’m currently in med school, myself, about two years away from my M.D.” Arnold placed his hand on his neck and glanced, briefly, at the ceiling before continuing, “I met my girlfriend in preschool. Not much else to say about it though. At least not at this point.”
As Arnold Returned to his seat Dr. Kratz addressed the group, “Gentlemen this is a support group designed for men who feel abused or otherwise overshadowed in their relationships. The goal of this group, as mentioned before, is not to convince you to leave your significant others. By the time you leave this group you will be able to A) peacefully coexist with your girlfriend, B) learn to accept and live and cope with your girlfriend’s behavior, or C) and this is the very last resort, break up with your girlfriend.” He paused to survey the group once more, “I am not your enemy, the others in the group are not your enemy, you girlfriend is not your enemy. The only enemy you have is yourself. I hope to get us to a point where you can rely on each other to keep the ‘true’ enemy from taking over.”
Dr. Kratz observed the room, all six pairs of eyes on him with rapt attention. He looked at his watch.
“Ok gentlemen, thank you for coming and I do hope to see you all next week. “